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State senator asks U.S. regulators to rein in pro-tanning group

February 06, 2013|By Marc Lifsher
  • California State Sen. Ted Lieu is complaining to the Federal Trade Commission about tanning bed industry statements on safety.
California State Sen. Ted Lieu is complaining to the Federal Trade Commission… (Christina House /Los Angeles…)

SACRAMENTO -- The California lawmaker who authored the country's first ban on teenagers using tanning beds is complaining to the Federal Trade Commission about a new tanning group's safety claims.

State Sen. Ted Lieu (D-Torrance) on Wednesday accused the newly organized American Suntanning Assn. of Jackson, Mich., of making similar safety claims as those made by a predecessor organization, the Indoor Tanning Assn.

In Feb. 5 letter, Lieu asked the FTC to order the suntanning group to stop saying that indoor tanning has health benefits.

On its website, the suntanning association defended what it called "intelligent, practical sun care for tanners and non-tanners."

The group complained that "overzealous sun avoidance is unnatural and has led to vitamin D deficiency in all of North America." The statement also called for more "discussion of the balanced message about UV [ultra violet] exposure."

The American Tanning Assn. could not be reached for additional comment.

Lieu, with support from dermatology professional organizations, is asking for federal action because, they said, "no level of indoor UV tanning is safe."

Lieu is the author of a 2011 California law that banned indoor tanning for everyone younger than 18.

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